As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Threshold Entertainment Group, Lawrence Kasanoff produces films and theme park rides based on some of the world’s biggest IP brands, including Spider-Man, Mortal Kombat, Justice League, Lego, Terminator 2, Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars.
As a very young head of a movie production division, Kasanoff bet his career on backing a film about the Vietnam War that lacked any established stars. It was a crazy thing to do, but the movie, Platoon, won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
He later bumped into Oliver Stone, Platoon’s director, who told him, “I always liked you. You have a touch of the madness.” Ever since, that line has been central to Kasanoff’s recipe for innovation.
“Innovation demands a touch of the madness,” says Kasanoff, now a film producer and entrepreneur.
“The current of the river of life will always try to pull you towards the middle, towards complacency and mediocrity. This is true for every person and every company. It’s a problem because other companies that don’t give in to that current will eclipse you.”
Kasanoff’s new book, A Touch of the Madness How to Be More Innovative in Work and Life...by Being a Little Crazy comes out later this year from BenBella books via Penguin/Random house. His main keynote speech is based on this unique philosophy of his.
A born storyteller, Kasanoff’s star-studded anecdotes make it easy and entertaining for business audiences to remember and use the lessons he has learned.
Kasanoff did not come from the world of Hollywood. He attended the oldest high school in the United States, Boston Latin School, whose alumni include Benjamin Franklin and then earned a BA at Cornell University and an MBA from The Wharton School. From an East Coast Ivy League background, he jumped into a world of creativity, crazy people, no rules, huge gambles, constant change, zero security and lots of weasels... in other words, Hollywood, where he still operates today.
As a speaker, Kasanoff serves as a Rosetta Stone between the corporate landscape and Hollywood, using examples, stories and lessons learned from the film industry to instill outside- the-box thinking in corporate audiences. He produced all Mortal Kombat media including three #1 films, a television series, an animated series, platinum-selling soundtracks, direct to DVD, and a live tour. He was also Executive Producer of 'True Lies', the box-office smash film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by James Cameron.
Throughout his career, Kasanoff has pushed the boundaries of filmmaking. Examples of such innovation include Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which featured morphing for the first time in cinema and Mortal Kombat, the first film based on a video game.
Previously, as President and Co-Founder of Lightstorm Entertainment, Kasanoff supervised production, marketing, publicity, and merchandising for the four-time Academy Award-winning hit, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. As a Producer or Studio Head, he has made over 200 feature films, including Dirty Dancing and Platoon. He has also raised well over a billion dollars in the film business.
In the music world, Kasanoff has packaged or produced video projects with several of the world’s biggest talents, including Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and Dick Clark. For Terminator 2, he produced MTV’s top video of the year, 'You Could Be Mine' with Gun’s ‘N Roses. Larry and Threshold Entertainment Group have been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Time Magazine, Wired, Maxim, and Playboy and have been featured on CNN, FOX News, ABC World News Tonight, CNBC, The Howard Stern Show and more.
Betting your career on having “a touch of the madness” is life changing for those willing to embrace the madness of Kasanoff’s unique lessons. His strategy of how to innovate holds the potential to bring unprecedented success. He is a captivating, amusing and inspiring speaker for your next event.